Creating rock solid obedience that you can safely rely on is what we do best here at Kabler School For Dogs. Once your dog begins their On and Off Lead training courses there is a path that we take from novice to expertly trained dog. The journey to training a dog to rock solid reliability is about teamwork, fun practice sessions, and carefully following the Kabler School For Dogs training roadmap.
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Rock solid training begins by building a bombproof foundation. Foundation work teaches your dog how to respond to obedience requests with motivated energy. In the beginning, we want your dog to understand that following through with obedience brings reward. Short and fun training routines are the name of the game when building your foundation. Ending your dogs practice sessions while your dog is at their peak will make your dog always excited to train. Another strategy during the foundation phase is to switch back and forth between training and play.
If your dog has behavioral issues like leash reactivity or fearful anxiety we recommend that counter-conditioning be started alongside the foundation phase of training. By using these powerful techniques consistently you can make noticeable changes in your dogs behavior. Counter-conditioning adjusts your dogs energy allowing the coming training phases to take root faster and with more success. The goal of counter-conditioning is to soften behaviors so that the training program can progress with less stress.
The next step on you and your dog’s journey to rock solid obedience is the guidance phase of training. There are many ways of communicating with your dog including voice requests, hand signals, and body language. During this phase we emphasize communication using the leash. It’s important that your dog understand that a pull on the leash actually means something. Just like a horseback rider communicates with his steed using the reigns we are going to send our dog obedience requests using the leash. Once your dog understands and responds successfully to leash guidance we are ready to continue our training journey to the reliability stage.
When your dog clearly understands how to respond to the different leash requests it is time to build their ability to reliably listen to your direction. Following through with commands on one request, longer sit and down stays, and consistent loose lead walking are some of the highlights of this training stage. It’s important to train in low to moderate level distraction environments as we strive to achieve the goals of the reliability phase. Once our dog is performing with accuracy it’s time to progress into the finishing phase.
During the finishing phase of training our goals are to make sure the training will work for us anywhere. Some trainers call this the distraction proofing phase. Now that your dog is demonstrating their new training skills with ease it is time to put the training to the test in increasingly higher distraction settings. As your dog learns to respond successfully in higher distraction settings you will notice a settling in your dog that actually deepens the canine/human bond. Seeing that your dog will enthusiastically respond to their training requests regardless of the environment or situation you will know you have achieved rock solid performance with your newly trained best friend.